CHAMPCAR/CART: Team Player's Long Beach qualifying report

Team Player's Drivers Tagliani And Carpentier Remain Firm In Their Resolve To Excel At The Grand Prix Of Long Beach Long Beach, California, April 7, 2001 A series of red flags and a sudden downpour of rain in the closing minutes of the Group 1...

Team Player's Drivers Tagliani And Carpentier Remain Firm In Their Resolve To Excel At The Grand Prix Of Long Beach

Long Beach, California, April 7, 2001 A series of red flags and a sudden downpour of rain in the closing minutes of the Group 1 session combined to hamper Team Player's drivers Alex Tagliani and Patrick Carpentier in today's qualifying for the Grand Prix of Long Beach, the second race of the season on the FedEx CART Championship schedule.

Tagliani, who just missed a podium finish in Long Beach last year he had a season-best fourth-place performance on the challenging street course will start from the inside of Row 6 for Sunday's 82-lap race. Carpentier, who was second fastest in today's morning practice session, has the 17th position on the grid. Last year's winner in Long Beach started from that exact position on the grid.

The front row of the grid for Sunday's Long Beach event is formed by Brazil's Helio Castroneves, who won the pole in a time of 1 minute, 8.556 seconds, and Sweden's Kenny Brack, with a clocking of 1:09.097.

Tagliani and Carpentier were third and fifth respectively on the leader board until several drivers in the second group put in their fastest lap with just two minutes left in their qualifying session. By that time, the rain-soaked track had started to dry and the drivers were running on a fresh set of tires, enabling them to move up the board. Drivers in the first group had difficulty turning in quick laps because of a number of disruptions.

"Team Player's had a dry set-up on the car, with more fuel and a stiffer chassis so that we could run several laps to warm up the tires," explained Tagliani. "Unfortunately, there were too many red flags and we couldn't get it going. CART officials added some extra time at the end of our session, but that's when it started to rain. The qualifying system isn't a fair one but we have to live with it. What's really encouraging for the team is the fact the Player's Reynard has been quick and up front all weekend under every weather condition, so we're ready for the race."

Carpentier expects the weather to be a factor during the race, and Team Player's will be devising a strategic plan to prepare for any eventuality.

"We'll have to be careful at the start of the race because we're right at mid-pack, and sometimes you can get caught up in the congestion," said Carpentier. "But things will settle down once everyone gets through the first couple of turns, and I'm confident we'll do well."

Of his qualifying performance, Carpentier said circumstances played against him, noting that "there were so many stoppages during the session there wasn't anything we could do. I ran only seven laps and the top driver in our group ran fewer than 10, compared to 20 laps for some drivers in the second group. But you just have to play with the cards that you're dealt. It makes me even more determined for tomorrow's race."

Racing fans can follow Team Player's progress at the Grand Prix of Long Beach by logging on to the team's website at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the race live on The Sports Network at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday.

-Players-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Kenny Brack